Ryan Adams. Photo courtesy High Road Touring.

There’s more hip-hop July 16 when Ja Rule performs at Diesel for the South Side club and concert venue’s 10th anniversary party. Ja has a new album, Coup de Grâce, coming later this year, and he says it will be his last. Journey, the Doobie Brothers and Steve Mason play First Niagara that same evening, and Steely Dan will be there the day after.


Feed More Festival is at Stage AE July 17. Formerly Blues Fest, the Pittsburgh Food Bank’s signature annual fundraiser has rebranded this year and shifted its focus to indie rock bands, evidenced by headliners Cold War Kids. Also on the bill: Brooklyn indie folk band The Lone Bellow, Cali blues-rockers The Stone Foxes, and Pittsburgh’s own neo-soul outfit, The Commonheart.

Things finally slow down the following week, but not before, on July 18, guitar slayer Zakk Wylde visits Mr. Smalls, and at Club Cafe, a performance by bluesy Austin psych-rockers, White Denim, now on tour with a new drummer and lead guitarist. On July 21, at First Niagara, it’s a Hall of Fame triple bill with Heart, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, and Cheap Trick.

The next day, July 22, is night one of country star Luke Bryan‘s two-night residency in Burgettstown, with support from Little Big Town and Dustin Lynch both evenings. For something a little more mellow, psych-pop band Quilt will be at Club Cafe. A few blocks away, at the Rex Theater, is a performance by singer/songwriter LP (Laura Pergolizzi), best known for writing songs for Rihanna, Cher, and others.

July 24, folksy Scottish indie rock band Frightened Rabbit visit Mr. Smalls, in support of their fifth studio album, Painting of a Panic Attack. Across town, pop star and former The Voice contestant Melanie Martinez visits Stage AE, the same venue where just a year earlier she sold out the much smaller Club at Stage AE. A day later, July 25, buzzy British indie pop/folktronica band, Daughter, with support from Memphis singer/songwriter Julien Baker. UK indie rock band Bloc Party—remember them?—play Stage AE the same day.

One final July show of note at Stage AE is Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats July 26. Signed to Stax Records, the Denver-based ensemble has a timeless sound that combines elements of the blues, R&B, and rock & roll. The 26th is the same night that heavy psych-rock band All Them Witches visit Club Cafe, just a few months after selling out Brillobox. Also of note, on July 28, Femi Kuti and the Positive Force (Fela’s son) performs at Altar Bar.

Speaking of Altar Bar, the lame duck venue will host a string of “Farewell & 10 Year Anniversary Series” shows prior to closing its doors for good at the end of the month. Announced so far: electro-pop band PVRIS, July 24; metalcore band August Burns Red, July 25 and 26, with support from Greywalker (night one) and Arcane Haven (night two); and local pop-punk favorites Punchline, July 29. Stay tuned as more shows are announced.

July 30, indie rock/shoegaze cult favorites, The Besnard Lakes visit Club Cafe. (It’s the same night Slipknot visits First Niagara, with Marilyn Manson and Of Mice & Men.) Besnard Lakes are from Montreal and earn a fair of Arcade Fire comparisons, but they’re more post-rock than art rock. The month wraps up with Atlanta rapper and Atlantic Records signee, Young Thug, July 31 at the South Side Events Center (it’s down near the Terminal Building) as he headlines #PittsburghSummerJam, with support from Philly’s PNB rock and Pittsburgh’s own Hardo, who just had a guest appearance on a track with Meek Mill.

Looking for more Pittsburgh happenings? Read our 10 Pittsburgh events not to miss in July and our Top 10 things for families to do in July in Pittsburgh feature articles.

Brian Conway is a writer and photographer whose articles have appeared in the Chicago Tribune and local publications. In his free time, he operates Tripsburgh. Brian lives in the South Side.